Community Checkup finds the quality of care varies between medical groups


The Washington Health Alliance expands health care quality reporting into Skagit, Spokane and Whatcom counties

Media Contact: John Gallagher, Washington Health Alliance, 206.454.2957,

The Washington Health Alliance announced today the release of the 2014 Community Checkup results. This version of the Community Checkup is the eighth time that the Alliance has produced these results, and it includes an important milestone in the Alliance’s expansion across Washington state. For the first time, the Alliance is reporting results for medical groups and clinics outside the Puget Sound region, with results for Skagit, Spokane and Whatcom counties.

The 2014 Community Checkup reports on 31 measures of quality and appropriateness of outpatient health care. The measures fall into areas of prevention, chronic disease management, generic drug prescribing, appropriate use of services and access to care. As in past reports, the current report provides some performance results only at the state level. But for 22 of the measures, the Alliance provides detailed results for 119 medical groups and 471 clinics of four or more providers in eight counties—King, Kitsap, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Thurston and Whatcom counties.

In this report, the Alliance provides a glimpse of how measurement might spur improvement by comparing results from the second Community Checkup, published in 2008, and this year’s results.

“Many of the themes in this report are familiar from past reports, especially the ongoing prevalence of unwarranted variation,” said Nancy A. Giunto, the Alliance’s executive director. “We recognize that these themes may seem well worn by now, but that does not make them any less true nor the problems that they illustrate any less urgent. Changing the health care system is not a task that can be accomplished quickly, no matter how dedicated system leaders may be to change. The Community Checkup serves as a reminder that the debate about improving the value of health care, including quality, needs to be a public one with transparent data to inform the conversation.”

The data in this report cover 3.9 million insured lives in Washington for the period from July 2012 to June 2013. In upcoming reports, the Alliance will be expanding our medical group and clinic reporting into other population centers in the state. Also, many of the measures in the forthcoming Washington State’s Statewide Common Measure Set are the same as Community Checkup measures and the Alliance will be taking steps to align with other measures in the 2015 Community Checkup. The goal will be to present a detailed picture of the quality of care across Washington by supplementing pricing information for select procedures and treatments, to provide a fuller picture of the value of health care in the state.

“This report is also a reminder that we have many successes to celebrate, including in the new counties covered in this report for the first time,” Ms. Giunto continued. “High performance is an attainable goal, and we have many medical groups in this report that have proven that true.”

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About the Washington Health Alliance

As a purchaser-led, multi-stakeholder collaborative with more than 185 participants, the Washington Health Alliance is committed to leading health system change in Washington state. The Alliance has a bold vision: by 2017 physicians, other providers and hospitals in the region will achieve the top 10 percent in performance nationally in the delivery of quality, evidence-based care and in the reduction of unwarranted variation, resulting in a significant reduction in medical cost trends. To achieve this goal, it will require the aligned efforts of those who give, get and pay for health care. A cornerstone of the Alliance’s work is the Community Checkup, a regional report to the public comparing the performance of clinics and hospitals for basic measures of quality care ( The Alliance is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality communities.

Select outreach communications and expenses related to outreach for the release of this Community Checkup report were fully funded (100% of $50,000) as part of a larger project funded under a Health Insurance Rate Review Cycle III grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight awarded to the state of Washington’s Office of Financial Management.  The total amount of Federal Funds awarded and received by Washington State’s Office of Financial Management for the Cycle III grant is $3,407,553.   All other activities related to the Community Checkup were privately funded by the Washington Health Alliance.

Issued March 23, 2015.

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